Monday, July 15, 2024

Legendary fashion designer Vivienne Westwood passes away at 81

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Dame Vivienne Westwood, the trailblazing British fashion designer, who brought punk and politics to the rarefied world of high fashion, has died on December 29, aged 81. She passed away in Clapham, South London, a representative for Westwood confirmed.

Westwood worked with punk styles and brought them to the fore – some of her very memorable bold designs including the leather bondage gear she popularised in the 1970s to sending a bare-breasted Kate Moss down the runway munching on ice cream.

“Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better,” her fashion label’s Twitter account said.

In a statement quoted by the PA news agency, her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler said, “We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you darling.”

Leading tributes, London’s Victoria and Albert Musuem described Westwood as a “true revolutionary and rebellious force in fashion,” while Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said she had been a “towering figure.”

“Her punk style rewrote the rule book in the 1970s and (she) was widely admired for how she stayed true to her own values throughout her life,” she wrote on Twitter.According to AFP, “It was all a long way from the village of Tintwistle in northern England where Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on April 8, 1941 to a mother who worked in a cotton mill and a father who mended shoes.

She made her own tailored suits as a teenager and studied jewellery in London, but quickly dropped out, later saying, “I didn’t know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world.” She became a teacher, married factory worker Derek Westwood and had a son by the time she was 22.

“Her life took a major swerve when she left her husband for Malcolm McClaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, a few years later. Together, they opened a clothing store on London’s King’s Road that became the epicentre of the punk movement.

The shop morphed over time, but at its peak, under the name “SEX”, the ripped T-shirts, latex and leather bondage gear became the provocative uniform of a generation set on tearing down the last cultural taboos,” added the report.

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